TVLine's Performer of the Week: Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln

Andrew Lincoln Season 5 Performance

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Andrew Lincoln

THE SHOW | The Walking Dead

THE EPISODE | “Try” (March 22, 2015)

THE PERFORMANCE | We always knew that Lincoln could play the living daylights out of anything that was thrown at him. But until this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, we didn’t realize that he could act his way from A to Z all within the span of a single hour.

Talk about a revelation! Early on in “Try,” the native of London revealed his character’s sweet, sensitive side during his interaction with (forbidden) love interest Jessie. Next, he showed us how doggedly protective his alter ego could be when Jessie’s abusive husband, Pete, made the mistake of trying to mark his territory. And finally, TV’s most underrated performer proved that nobody – and we mean nobody – could lose it as well as he could, as a bloody, beat-up Rick began a rant that was meant to signal a coup, but…

Well, let’s just say that even if Michonne hadn’t coldcocked Rick, we’d still be calling Lincoln’s work here a knockout.

NeillHONORABLE MENTION | The Middle patriarch rarely lets his guard down, which is why it was such a joy to witness Mike Heck get caught during his automobile jam sesh, followed by his complete and total denial of the occurrence. It wasn’t initially clear why he grew enraged when Frankie and the kids busted his chops, but he soon revealed his “performance” was his way of assuaging pent-up stress over Sue’s dwindling college prospects. Neil Flynn excels as the habitually stern father figure, but his all-out Boston rock-out reminded us just how great he is in looser, zanier moments, which once made up his entire performance on a little show called Scrubs. (And hey, whaddya know? The Janitor also had “More Than a Feeling!”)

americans-keriHONORABLE MENTION | The Americans‘ Elizabeth Jennings can always be counted on to get the job done. In Wednesday’s episode, she once again accomplished her task, but, at the same time, her portrayer Keri Russell allowed us to see the cracks that are starting to form in the armor of the steadfast Russian spy. The actress was restrained and quietly powerful as Elizabeth listened to guest star Lois Smith wax nostalgic about her son and late husband before forcing the old woman to take her own life. And, possibly for the first time, Russell revealed to us an Elizabeth rocked to the core by her “evil” behavior.

POTW - MHONORABLE MENTION | If The Mindy Project doesn’t get renewed — and we don’t get more of the sublime Chris Messina as Danny Castellano — we’ll be as upset as Dr. L without her daily bearclaw. In Tuesday’s season finale, Messina balanced moments of silly curmudgeonness (the joy with which he infused Danny’s riff on hating Boston) and tender ache (the sadness with which he finally confessed he didn’t want to marry Mindy). Above all, we were blown away by Messina’s work in his scene with Rhea Perlman, the actor laying bare the hurt and fear of abandonment underlying Danny’s cynicism. Bring Mindy — and Messina — back, Fox; don’t make us unleash our inner Beyonce Pad Thai on you.

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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50 Comments
  1. Guy says:

    I think Mindy Kaling deserves the honorable mention. The show is absolutely ridiculous (and I love it), but throughout the seasons, I’ve been consistently surprised at how Kaling acts in those small moments of gravity, and then can just turn it around into a hilarious quip. I feel like I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. She’s great!

  2. Andy Lincoln is AMAZING ACTOR!!!

  3. webly3 says:

    I’m really glad you guys mentioned Andrew Lincoln. His performance is very underrated and is brought down by his character’s haters.

  4. Michelle says:

    Chris Messina is everything. If Mindy doesn’t get renewed I’ll be crushed!!!!

  5. @tvneuroepi says:

    Ben Mendelsohn for Bloodline.

  6. Michael says:

    Where’s Laura Dern?

  7. Spence says:

    I am 100% in support of Andy, he did great this week. However I really think the cast of Bates Motel should’ve been given some recognition. Vera Farmiga was great once again as a mother who realizes her son is a murderer, and Freddie was stellar during his breakdown! Secondly, I feel Travis aka Ragnar from Vikings should’ve gotten some recognition for his trek up the mountain with the body of his closest friend.

    • Angela says:

      Seconding Vera and Freddie from “Bates Motel”. They’re so good in their roles, and their scenes together are so intense. They do a great job of being uber creepy/unsettling in their interactions one minute, and then tender and oddly sweet the next. Freddie’s channeling the spirit of the original Norman Bates frighteningly well, and Vera’s so good at making Norma funny and pathetic and heartbreaking all at the same time.

    • CJ says:

      Travis definitely put in my favorite performance of the week. Absolutely stellar work.

    • jeanann says:

      Agree about Travis Fimmel. Ragnar’s walk up the mountain and goodbye speech to Athelstan was amazing.

  8. GeoDiva says:

    The Middle was hilarious. My family is also going through the college acceptance waiting game! It is so stressful and this show captured it perfectly. Neil Flynn was great. I like how over the years, they keep peeling back layers of Mike Heck. From the stray cat at the quarry, to him taking Sue on all the college visits. Him singing in the car was a perfect next step.

  9. Tim says:

    Sometimes I think Andrew Lincoln over acts. Like that shellshocked/I’m about to throw up or pass out look. Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

  10. azu says:

    Andrew, way to go!! I love him

  11. Edward says:

    I would have at least given an honorable mention to Tea Leoni I mean her show isn’t all that hip but her performance this week was stellar.

  12. Eli Edwards says:

    This website’s definition of “Bubble” shows is crazy. The Middle is NOT in any danger of cancelation. The Mindy Project has an automatic renewal because of syndication.

    • HAP says:

      I’m fairly certain it appeared there because Charlie McDermott is in a CBS pilot. Usually the wisdom is that there has been some whispering in the casts ears. On the other hand, the Middle could easily survive without him.

      • bj says:

        Charlie McDermott has been cast as the lead in Greg Garcia’s CBS comedy pilot Super Clyde. He was in the clear to take another series regular job because the contracts of The Middle cast expire at the end of this season.

      • Allee says:

        Considering. Axl is away at college, he could easily be recurring. I’d be so sad not to see Sue anymore.

  13. sarahk says:

    I hate to admit because I used to love The Mindy Project but they ruined Danny’s character this season. Chris Messina is a great actor and I think he deserves better. I wouldn’t be sad anymore (because I would be last year) if the show gets cancelled

    • Mary says:

      How did They ruin his character? His character is the exact same? He was always a selfish jerk. So you want an entire show cancelled because you noticed it more this season? Sorry that is ridiculous. The writing for Danny didn’t change at All so if you are liking Danny less that was on chris messina’s acting choices.

  14. poppy says:

    Andrew Lincoln is amazing. He should definitely get more recognition. Just a stellar guy!

  15. love says:

    ughhhmmm how about Ryan eggold. .dude was stellar this week and last..handsome terrific actor!

  16. kirads09 says:

    “Which performances knocked your socks off this week?”

    I would like to nominate as a runner up
    Michael McKean as Charles “Chuck” McGill in the latest Better Call Saul Ep “Rico”.
    (Heck, the whole series thus far, really).
    Understated but incredible all at once.

  17. Labpar says:

    Andrew Lincoln is amazing and deserves more recognition. He is just stellar. Best thing about TWD.

  18. CJ says:

    I agree with all of these, but I was also moved to tears by Travis Fimmel’s performance on Vikings this week. One of his best so far and a very, very memorable one.

    Also, the actress opposite Keri Russell in all of those Americans scenes was just as worthy of a mention, IMO. Heartbreaking.

  19. Travis says:

    I think performer of the week should have gone to Tea Leoni of Madam Secretary because it was amazing to see her struggle with the aftermath of the coup from the week prior. Also Emily Vancamp of Revenge as a honorable for showing her hard and soft side again by wanting to protect her friends by doing any and everything to do so from hurt but realizing that it may be to late!!!!!

  20. S McMary says:

    I think Matthew Del Negro from Scandal should have gotten an Honorable Mention. That scene at the restaurant where Michael was literally crumpling under his parents’ verbal abuse was heartbreaking. Also, the scene at the end when he admitted to Cyrus that he had always dreamed about his wedding plus his reactions to Cy telling him he was a good person and that he wouldn’t be alone really got to me. Amazingly, considering his many credits, this is the first time I’ve ever seen him in anything but I’m definitely interested in seeing what he has done before.

  21. jenferner8 says:

    Andrew Lincoln has knocked it out every single episode. Like Thomas Gibson on Criminal Minds, the fans always know the most unrated, under appreciated actors are always the stellar performers. While the Emmys will never recognize these off the chart performances, viewers are loyal to a fault and we stick behind our heroes.
    Honorable mentions: Travis Fimmel, George Bladgen and Gustaf Skarsgard for Vikings. What a sad, stunning and beautiful episode.

  22. N says:

    I love The Middle!

  23. MJ says:

    I think Ian on Shameless or Mickey were great last week. That last scene had me in tears.

    • Jules says:

      They deserve it EVERY week. Especially Noel Fisher. He’s amazing!! You know what else would be amazing??? Getting rid of Sammy. Just when I thought her character couldn’t get more unlikeable, she takes it to another level.

  24. Carlos Alvarez says:

    No honorable mention for Jonathan Groff for Looking. Those scenes with Russel Tovey were amazing. The acting was taken to another level. Also I agree about Matthew Del Negro from Scandal I had seen him already in Teen Wolf and Chicago Fire but this is the first time I noticed what a great actor he is. Those scenes at the restaurant with his parents and his conversation with Cyrus at the end were great and heartbreaking

  25. Rebecca says:

    I love The Americans! Keri does such a good job as Elizabeth! However I really, really dislike Elizabeth after this episode!!!!!!

  26. Chase says:

    My Performers of the week for me was Amy Acker and Michael Emerson of Person Of Interest. I thought the episode was great even the number side. people are bitching about the John/Iris kiss ( which i liked ) and it has caused people not to care about the episode which is a damn shame. nonetheless Amy and Michael have had an Emmy caliber season, the scene in beth’s hotel room with root revealing herself as the threat but not out of selfish reasons was sad and they final scene of them in the hideout.

  27. KevyB says:

    Ugh! He’s awful at anything but killing zombies. I keep praying they’ll kill him off.

  28. yu xian says:

    I really love the mindy project!! please on air season 4!!! ><

  29. Brigid says:

    100% agree! Andrew Lincoln is an amazing actor and he was phenominal in this episode.